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Posted: 06/26/13

DUCK! Above, Chloe Anderson, Katrina Stockemer and Zoe Campbell prepare to fire their duck chucking device at targets during the 2013 Camp Invention, held at Indian Hills Elementary June 17-21. Below, students learn about ice boring by chipping into "icebergs." The camp combines science, math and thinking outside of the box to solve problems.

(Observer photos by Chris Gray)

Students spend summer
learning science skills

Observer Staff Writer
      Madison Deming and her partners, Zachary Utz and Charles Mutart, cheer as they launch a rubber duck into a cardboard target using their "Duck Flinger 3001."
       "We're trying to get that big one since it's 50 points," Deming said.
       It sounds like kids causing a ruckus, but in actuality they were learning about trajectory, teamwork and critical thinking alongside 79 other Romeo students during Camp Invention, held June 17-21 at Indian Hills Elementary.
       Sue Trush, a Hevel Elementary instructor, has served as the program director for the past four years. She said the students, ranging from first- to sixth-graders, carry over what they learn into the classroom.
       "This gives the kids a whole week of science and hopefully all their ideas that they get will continue on for that summer," she said.
       The program's curriculum and supplies are provided by Invent Now. This year's program, called "Geo-Quest," had students rotating through four different stations. They included treasure hunting with Cache Dash, discovering Earth's realms with Ecoverse, exploring extreme locations with Amazing Atlas Games and creating a rubber duck catapult in "I Can Invent: Launchitude."
       Trush said the program works to supplement Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education courses and sharpens 21st century thinking.
       "As our curriculum and everything changes, this maybe becomes even more important because we don't always have time in our curriculum," Trush said.
       Students were able to disassemble old appliances to create new inventions for the I Can Invent segment. The other programs had groups of students solving problems like making armor to explore volcanoes, how to bore into ice for samples or creating new traffic signals.
       Trush said the programs encourage teamwork and breaks the mind-frame that students have in needing to be first or successful on the first try.
       "The kid will tell you that a lot of the inventions were made because they were errors," she said. "To be an inventor, it's okay to not be successful."
       Trush added this was the largest group to participate, doubling the first year's enrollment of nearly 40 students.
       Volunteers helped throughout the week, whether they're former students or counselors in training. Jamie Stockemer, a parent with two kids in the program, volunteered for the first time. She manned a room full of scraps for kids to use in their inventions.
       "It's amazing how these kids can take a Nutri-Grain box and paper and just make these phenomenal things," Stockemer said.

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